While he’s wrapping up his presidency, leaving a lasting legacy on the U.S. prison system looks to be one of President Barack Obama’s goals. He’s already done more than most presidents in regards to granting clemency and commutations for inmates, but he’s not done.
Obama has granted 214 commutations for drug offenders currently serving time in prison, a vast majority of which were non-violent, according to CNN. Many of the inmates who this will affect were serving sentences for crimes that hold much less weight than when they were convicted and are expected to be released much sooner. 67 were even facing life sentences.
“This is a country that believes in second chances,” Obama wrote in a Facebook post about the decision. “So we’ve got to make sure that our criminal justice system works for everyone.
This makes a grand total of 562 commutations for Obama, which is more than all presidents combined going back to JFK.
“The work we’re doing with commutations is unprecedented and I have now commuted more sentences for nonviolent drug offenses than the last seven or eight president’s combined,” Obama said.
Obama clearly sees some of the flaws in our current criminal justice system, such as the tendency to lock people up with no real intention to rehabilitate them. Hopefully his historic work will play a role in a future where the prison system doesn’t even resemble its current state.
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons